tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 13, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
a real family. a big family. a lot of kids. i know that there must be sort of real stories. and after getting it from the family friend, i went back to the family themselves and got all the details right because i wanted -- >> so the family told you the story. well, i'm trying to get an interview with seamus. neil, thank you for -- >> good luck. >> have a great weekend. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton "hardball" starts right now. bain, bain, go away. come again some other day. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off -- tonight's forecast, heavy bain. newt says he he won't stop. he's going after mitt romney for his work at bain capital. a lot of conservatives have decided to southeast and desist
but newt is going all out thinking this is his best shot to do to mitt what mitt did to him in iowa. it's now or never for evangelicals. they want anyone to stop romney, but who? they may find out this weekend. also pacman. steven colbert might run for president. he's handing the control of his allegedly independent super pac to jon stewart, of course. colbert is making a larger point here that super pacs like the one mitt romney is using aren't independent at all. and oops. he did it again. once again rick perry can't remember the three government departments he wants to eliminate. funny. most people can think of one candidacy they'd like to eliminate. let me finish with my ten-week tour of america. we begin with the attacks on mitt romney for his work at bain capital. rick tyler, what a great get he is. former gingrich spokesman now with the super pac winning our future. the group that's putting out the ads against romney.
it's great to have you on. how do you get a job running a super pac? i know i'm going for information here and actual news, but how do you -- did newt call you up? somebody who knows newt who knows that guy who knows newt? how did you become the pac-man? >> i was interested in helping newt. when i decided to help newt, i knew who was running the pac. i made a phone call to see if i could help. that's how it happened. these pacs are an abomination. we should return to the old way of letting candidates raise the money and make it transparent so people can see where the money comes from. that would make these pacs obsole obsolete. >> does your pac intend to help newt gingrich defeat mitt romney in south carolina? is that the goal of your pac? >> yes, it is. apparently, it's having some
effect. three polls have newt within second place now in south carolina. so we have a straight up race between a southern georgia conservative and a massachusetts moderate. >> should be interesting. campaigning today in miami, newt gingrich continues his attacks on romney. let's watch. >> the only place he worked with bain, he claims he created 100,000 jobs. "the washington post" two days ago reported in their fact check column that he gets three pinocchios. now a pinocchio is what you get from the "post" if you aren't telling the truth. we thought about doing an ad where the nose gets longer. three would be a pretty long nose. we're not going to do that. but i just challenge governor romney. release the records. show us the facts. you can't run for president, have half your campaign be about your great achievements and then hide them. >> here's your south carolina ad running now that's attacking
romney's career at bain taken from a movie that gingrich called for today to be pulled because of its inaccuracies. let's watch. >> a group of corporate raiders led by mitt romney. the company was bain capital, more ruthless than wall street. >> pulled the rug out from under our plant. >> everybody was fired. >> they fire people. they cut benefits. they sell assets. >> mitt romney and them guys, they don't care who i am. >> i feel that is a man that destroyed us. >> winning our future is responsible for the content of this message. >> your response for the content. are you happy with its accuracy? there are reports that there are people who have been quoted, actually shown on camera in that documentary that have later said and more recently said they were taken out of context and don't like it being shown the way it is being shown. >> we're checking into that because we want to get it right.
we checked and double checked and we'll have a response. we want to honor newt gingrich's call that if it's inaccurate, we'll make the adjustments. but right now, we're standing by the film. >> let me ask you about newt gingrich as a person. i got to interview him last week. i find him impossible to figure out. he will say the most terrible things, especially about anybody that gets in his way. chris dodd ought to be in prison. barney frank ought to be in prison. he says this horrible opportunistic stuff, and then when you sit down with him, he's got a very smart brain, a great sense of history. how do you put together -- well i'll say it -- the good, the bad, and the ugly of newt gingrich? >> you called him the devil incarnate himself. >> you didn't catch my interview. i said you aren't always. and it didn't seem to bother him for a second. what an odd thing to say to a politician. you aren't always the devil. >> i've never met anybody like newt gingrich. he doesn't hold grudges. it can be very confrontational
when he needs to be. but i found him to be a caring individual. i think of he and calista and their family and daughters and son-in-laws like my family. they never separated me aside and said you're staff. i attended their wedding and gone to their grandchildren's birthday parties. so i love and admire the gingriches. i feel isolated because i'm in this pac and i'm not supposed to communicate with him. >> here's a pro-romney super pac restore our future. let's watch. this is the ad going after your guy, gingrich. >> newt gingrich's attacks are called foolish, out of bounds, and disgusting. newt attacks because he has more baggage than the airlines. newt was fined $300,000 for ethics violations. took $1.6 million from freddie mac and co-sponsored a bill with nancy pelosi that would have given $60 million a year to a
u.n. program supporting china's one child policy. don't be fooled by newt's desperate attacks. >> so your candidate has given money to help the chinese limit their families to one child. that's pretty -- is that true or not? i don't think -- it doesn't sound true, but your thoughts? >> not to my knowledge. it doesn't sound like newt gingrich. people in south carolina know newt gingrich. it shouldn't be surprising. mitt romney's campaign is based on misleading utterances that are at odds with his record. it shouldn't be surprising. yesterday i read in the huffington post that the net-net number of 100,000 jobs only included the positive jobs and not the negative jobs. while he has staples and sports authority that sell imported products from mostly china or manufactured overseas, he doesn't count the jobs where he took apart the companies and sent their jobs overseas. i suppose that's fitting. >> you got your shot in there.
most of that ad we saw was accurate except the chinese part. is there anything in that ad that was wrong? well, he was fined. he was reprimanded. >> no, no -- chris, he was reprimanded. and i'll tell you why. because he put his name to a legal document prepared by counsel that described a political action committee as a foundation. most of the rest of the country that would require a phone call to say isn't go pac a political action committee? and instead, washington, it's a $300,000 investigation to put it behind him. he paid for the investigation and paid for it out of his own pocket. i'd call that a new standard of ethics, not a low in ethics. >> you are a good defender. thank you, rick. please come back on the program even though you don't coordinate with newt gingrich. it's nice to see you endorsing him. thank you. susan page is washington bureau chief for "usa today." she has no candidate in this race. this thing is -- he laughs about
it. it's like steve colbert making a joke. we'll talk about him later in the show. this super pac thing, it adds to the citizens and the american voter. people that watch this program know what's going on. they see the ads. they are trashing the other guy. they don't even say at the end i'm newt gingrich and i paid for this. there's no honesty here. >> there's no transparency. there's so many of them. 3 hadn't $4 million worth in south carolina from the gingrich pac. and more than that from restore our future, the -- >> 2.2 for the pro-romney. 1.9 for the pro-perry. 1.8 for the pro-gingrich. a third of a million for the ad. >> it's not that big of state. you turn on the tv, all you're going to do is get a barrage of ads telling you what's wrong with these candidates. >> they might say idon't like either one of these guys so i'll
go to santorum or perry. >> look what happened in iowa and new hampshire. turnout not up the way they hoped it would be. up to 247,000 in -- >> you know why. negative advertising depresses voting because people goic, right? >> so it helps people who have a strong core vote. it's good for ron paul. his voters are going to turn out regardless. and romney has a national organization. but it does discourage everybody else. >> here's the romney campaign itself. not the super pac. it's actually going on the defensive. here's romney with enough bucks to do this. defending himself on an ad in south carolina. let's watch. >> this is a business mitt romney helped start. and this one. and this steel mill. mitt romney helped create and ran a company that invested in struggling businesses, grew new ones, and rebuilt old ones. creating thousands of jobs. those are the facts. we expected the obama administration to put free markets on trial.
but as "the wall street journal" said, mr. romney's gop opponents are embarrassing themselves by taking the obama line.approve t. >> i notice they quoted the examiner in washington. i always start my day with it, but it's a bit right wing. let me go to this thing. here's what i think is interesting. everybody says this race is over because romney is going to win it. you thr all around the buzz. but look at this. back in 2000, mccain got blown away -- i'm sorry. he won new hampshire. then he comes down and -- i'm sorry. mccain won new hampshire, came down to south carolina and got blown away. >> no he came down and -- he won in south carolina because fred thompson said the opposition was divided. that set mccain for a comeback. >> i'm talking about the time before. back in 2000, mccain won big in new hampshire and everyone said he'd be the nominee. so south carolina can still do a 180 on what happened in new hampshire. >> that's exactly right. and think about the economy of south carolina, which is in pretty bad shape.
the voices we saw in the earlier ad of people saying mitt romney's bain capital destroyed our community. >> why would somebody in south carolina -- just put the heat on romney really strong. he's a massachusetts moderate, by record. when he was governor of massachusetts he was a moderate. pro choice. got the health care bill through that he used for the model. he's a mormon which is not a big plus down there among the evangelicals. the natural geographic rivalry over north and south, especially textiles. all the history in trade. why would he win? >> he would win because the opposition to him is divided and also because he's run a pretty good campaign. and republicans may not love mitt romney, but they love the idea of beating barack obama. if they think mitt romney has a way to do that, he could do pretty well. >> i saw a number, by the way. 91% of evangelicals support him against obama. thank you, susan page. coming up, it's now or never for evangelicals. i just spoke of them. they want to stop mitt romney.
but do they agree on which conservative candidate? no. they don't have an agreement on a candidate to get behind. could be santorum, gingrich or perry. they don't know which of the guys to go against him. that also includes ron paul, who is pro-life. they may divide up and let romney win this whole thing. [ male announcer ] for sore muscles use new bengay cold therapy, it's pro-cool technology releases armies of snowmen masseuse who cuddle up with your soreness and give out polar bear hugs. technology. [ male announcer ] new bengay cold therapy. the same technology used by physical therapists. go to bengay.com for a $3 coupon. metamucil uses super hard working psyllium fiber, which gels to remove unsexy waste and reduce cholesterol. taking psyllium fiber won't make you a model but you should feel a little more super. metamucil. down with cholesterol. ♪ home was an airport lounge and an ipad ♪
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back to "hardball." this weekend on a private ranch outside houston, 150 leaders in the conservative evangelical christian community will meet with one objective -- to stop mitt romney. even pillars of the evangelical movement see it's a long shot. one used a dating analogy to describe the problem. >> before we marry the guy next door, don't you think we ought to have a fling with a tall, dark stranger and see if he can support us in the manner that we would like to be accustomed? if he can't, we can always marry the steady beau who lives next door. >> the executive producer john reese had to explain this to me. the steady beau next door in this parable is mitt romney. can the group of evangelicals really affect the gop race?
dr. robert jones and melinda join us. well, here we go. what's going to happen down at this? i like the new term, mitt romney call it is a quiet room to do tax policy. now we'll have a quiet ranch for religion policy. >> right. well, i think the main thing this tells us about the decline of an older model of elite power brokering that has seen its heyday. really gone are the days that a group of men are going to sit in a room and decide who the candidate is going to be. let's look at where this is happening. right before south carolina. this is the last stand in many ways. >> does this bother the protestants. they have two catholics to choose from. to be funny about it, the convert newt gingrich or the longtime -- life-long catholic rick santorum. these are largely a protestant organization. not an ideal situation.
>> is that going to be a problem for them? so they don't have to pick the mormon? and how much of it is mormon? >> what we've seen in this question is that mitt romney has failed to sew it up time and time again. candidates up and down and up and down. >> when does he come down? when does he come down? >> romney? he's been pretty steady, but he hasn't been able to lock down the other candidates surging to the top. one of the reasons, he certainly has some issues where evangelicals have reservations, but the other thing he has really is that half of evangelicals don't consider the mormon faith a christian religion and half say they'd be somewhat uncomfortable with a mormon president. >> two-thirds of other protestants believe that the church of jesus christ of latter day saints is christian. and so it's only the evangelicals who in their own world single out the lds church as not being part of the christian faith. >> but if you look at how they
say they'll vote, they say they'll vote in equal numbers with other republicans. i think the thing is -- >> when it comes to a choice between obama -- >> in the general. their turnout rates will be the same from what i see. i think they want to be taken seriously. they want to seem like they are still players. do they have any money? if they don't have any money to put ads on tv, they don't count. >> certainly compared to the super pacs. >> they aren't going to drop a couple million in florida, for example. tony parker is a guy that's the family research council organizing the texas meeting. some have portrayed this as a anti-romney rally, a bash mitt weekend. it's not. what is driving it is discomfort with mitt romney among evangelicals and the search for another candidate. that's an easy way of saying i don't like the guy, but it sounds nicer, right? is it religion or philosophy? >> for evangelicals, but for white evangelical protestants in the south, it's really about
theology. this discomfort on their -- some of the issues where they perceive sort of a flip-flop. but it comes down to a serious issue with theology. >> but he's doing better with evangelicals than you would have thought. >> i want proof of that. romney leads in a time/cnn poll of likely republican voters in south carolina who identify themselves as born again christians. here's the breakdown. this is among evangelicals, the more fundamentalist faiths. romney, 35%. dominant. santorum behind him at 22%. gingri gingrich, 20%. paul at 15%, perry at 3%. the new hampshire exit polls show among evangelicals up there, romney got 31%, ahead of santorum, ron paul and gingrich. iowa republicans went for santorum. and gingrich, perry and romney were tied at 14%. michele bachmann got only six. here's a wild idea. even though people have religious faith, they render a
decision to render those to caesar what are caesars. i say romney is doing better among evangelicals than anybody else. >> they want to win. they want to win. i've heard from voters over and over again, yeah, he -- would he be my first choice, no. but my first choice is somebody that can beat obama, and i think -- >> they don't have a first choice. >> it's too late for them to have a first choice. and even if they did, they really want to win in the fall. i have heard people say irealize i don't have the luxury of being a single issue voter anymore. this year i'm a republican who wants my candidate. >> and if rick perry wasn't just a balloon if they had blown him up to the size -- he looked great. rick perry is a governor. he looks great. looks like a texan. great hair. all the things you need in politics these days. what else? a record of unemployment going down in texas. creating jobs. he talked right. and the minute he got on the
stage he stumbled. and he's protestant. >> more complex than that. think about mike huckabee. we had mike huckabee. if there ever were a ready made evangelical candidate. >> but he had no money. >> he needed that -- >> and he did an awesome job with the two cents he had in his pocket. >> can i ask you a really good question because i'm very much for religious tolerance and i really don't like this conversation. did jack kennedy, being catholic once he was president, have anything to do with what he did? did richard nixon being a quake ver anything to do with his being president? does religion guide you -- your particular affiliation. does it guide you in any way to your policies? >> yeah. >> you say yeah -- yes or no? >> partisanship after 1972 and into the reagan years, partisanship matters more than religious affiliation. >> of course. because partisanship is based on policy. >> it's a different day than kennedy's day. kennedy ran on putting his
catholicism aside in a way that -- but rick santorum -- >> the issue of his religion never came up. >> that's correct. >> nixon's religion of quakerism never came up. >> he hears kennedy's speech on religion and i think his term was, it makes me want to vomit. >> he's a republican. >> he has a different view on the role of religion in public life. >> kennedy's speech on religion was a masterpiece because it basically said the issue is not with church i believe in. it's what america i believe in. and the only question we should ask of a candidate is what kind of america do you believe in? and that's why we don't have a religion test in our constitution. if the guy say religious fanatic and that's all he talks about. pay attention. if he talks about the issues we care about like protecting this country and creating jobs, we should judge him on that. that's my very short sermonette. thank you dr. jones and melinda. up next -- oops.
rick perry's done it again. this is really unbelievable. he's botched -- it's only three and he can't get it straight. wait until you catch him doing it again. this is unbelievable. you're watching "hardball" friday night on msnbc. [ male announcer ] how can power consumption in china, impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. ♪ imagine zero pollutants in our environment. or zero dependency on foreign oil.
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back to "hardball." now for the "side show." first up, opening up old wounds. john mccain and mike huckabee may have opted to stay out of the 2012 presidential race, but that doesn't mean there isn't some lingering tension between the two former opponents. the charge that during the last primary season mccain encouraged former senator fred thompson to stay in the race and thereby split the social conservative vote in south carolina and give mccain the upper hand. here's huckabee leveling the charge yesterday morning. >> here's what happened. john certainly encouraged fred to stay in. fred knew he was not going to get the nomination. fred thompson's vote totals in the upstate really took into ours n john won handily in the south part down around charleston. and that's what did it.
but that's politics. >> do you think john mccain knowing that one let one go? think again. here's him hitting back just a few hours later. >> it's totally patently false for him to say something like that. maybe it makes him feel better, but it's not the truth. fred thompson was viewed as a viable candidate. it's not necessarily he took all of huckabee's votes. i had a lot of votes there. all i can say to governor huckabee, good luck in your programming on fox, but you're not telling the truth. >> anyway, this morning, fred thompson denied making any arrangement with john mccain. and this time around it's mitt who could sneak away with a win if conservatives don't pick one and just one of their own. instead dividing the vote. mccain took a break to sit down with david letterman discussing among other things how his party is faring in the lead-up to this 2012 presidential election. let's watch. >> how do you think things are going for your party? the grand old party. how is it going, senator?
>> we have had better days. >> it seems everybody has gone whacky in the republican party. i just wondered, was it the influence of the tea party? or am i overexamining this? >> you're overexamining this. as usual. how many people have watched one of these debates? i'll bet you everybody in this -- it's good for the process. it's good to see whether somebody is a whacko or not. >> no shortage there. >> in fairness, we were down a few cast members in the republican clown show since it got under way, but speaking of that, oops, he did it again. it will be a long time before any of us forget this tragic moment for rick perry. >> the third agency of government -- i would do away with education, commerce, and let's see. i can't. the third one i can't. sorry. oops.
>> and as we all know now, the missing link was the department of energy. old story, right? during a radio appearance in south carolina today -- today -- early today, perry took another shot at it and missed. let's listen. >> commerce, interior and energy are three you think of right off the bat. >> interior, that's the first time interior made the kill list. what happened to education? that's what makes me think he's not even giving this thing much thought at all. perry, you keep doing it. oopsing again. up next steven colbert says he may run for president. he's got his buddy jon stewart running his super pac. it may be a joke but colbert has a serious point to make that super pacs aren't independent at all. and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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i'm milissa rehberger. here's what's happening. a doctor for john edwards says the ex-presidential candidate has a serious heart problem. the doctor also says edwards will need a procedure next month. edwards is seeking to delay his trial on campaign finance charges. the cardiologist says in court papers the condition could be life threatening if left untreated. joran van der sloot was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the murder of a young peruvian woman. he pleaded guilty on wednesday to killing 21-year-old business student stephany flores. van der sloot is the prime suspect in the disappearance of alabama teenager natalee holloway. holloway's parents want the man extradited to the u.s. to face charges. and joe paterno is in the hospital tonight. paterno who is 85 is under observation for complications related to lung cancer treatments. the former coach was fired from penn state in november amid scandal. he began cancer treatments late
last year. now back to "hardball." i'm proud to announce that i am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for the president of the united states of south carolina. i'm doing it! drop them, jimmy! whoo! whoo! and with your help and possibly the help of some sort of outside group that i'm not coordinating with, we can explore taking this country back. thank you. god bless you all. and god bless citizens united. >> welcome back to "hardball." that's steven colbert. his ongoing satire about money
in politics. he announced last night his plan to consider running for president thanks to a new poll that showed he's actually ahead of jon huntsman in south carolina. the fake commentator formed a real super pac this summer called americans for a better tomorrow tomorrow. he said it twice. last night he stepped down from his super pac since technically candidates cannot technically coordinate the groups which can raise unlimited amounts of money from any group to support candidates. of course, what constitutes coordination is often a murky question. who took over colbert's pac? his comedy central partner jon stewart. it's all part of the satire. david corn and mike, chief white house correspondent for politico. he was on steven colbert's show last night after the big announcement. everything we do doesn't match
the firepower of this steve colbert thing. how did you manage to get on that show after he did this? >> it gave me an opportunity to see up close from steven colbert and his staff that they take their satire seriously. and he clearly is ridiculing the process here, but he also aims to illuminate the process. and steven colbert viewers know the difference between a pac and a super pac. "hardball" viewers do, but there aren't a lot more. but he's not just making a one-shot sketch. next week, his super pac is going to buy attack ads on south carolina tv. next week on his show, he's going to pursue his exploratory committee, show how an exploratory committee works. >> it's great. the average person -- most people turn on the tv. they watch regular shows. they don't watch political shows. but if you grow up in iowa or new hampshire, you can't get away from politics. just turn on the tv and in any
show, right in the middle of it, there's a blasting ad trashing somebody. then at the end, it says paid for by vocation for the future or something stupid. you don't even know who paid for it. >> new hampshire is a civics lesson. and steven colbert is giving us another lesson. he's doing it with humor, but he's making fun of this fiction that candidates go out there. their best buddies or fathers -- >> there they are. poke fun at the loose rules last night governing how super pacs are run. here they are with colbert's real life attorney, real life lawyer trevor potter discussing the rules. >> who used to be at the s.e.c. >> truth is funnier than fiction. let's watch. >> can i run ads supporting steven colbert, who i believe in very deeply, perhaps attacking his potential opponents who i don't believe in at all? >> yes, you can. as long as you do not coordinate. >> well, that's interesting.
>> okay, jon. i guess you'd better leave for fear that we would coordinate with each other. i cannot let you know my plan. from now on, jon, i will have to talk about my plans on my television show and just take the risk that you might watch it. >> i don't even know when it's on 11:30 monday through thursday. >> here's rick tyler, recent aide to newt gingrich. his press guy knowing exactly what newt wants to say. he now joins the pac that's promoting the candidacy of newt gingrich. supposedly not coordinating on the telephone every night but he knows the message that will help newt. >> this is the problem with citizens united. at the end of steve's rally last night with the balloons falling, he said god bless citizens united because this was a court decision that has allowed super pacs to grow. they were not in the real world. this idea you can have a separation without coordination
and that's what makes this okay is completely false and ludicrous, which is why steven colbert and jon stewart have such an easy time making fun of this. >> you guys weren't around in watergate. waurlt watergate was supposed to end all of this. it showed the excesses of dirty money in politics with big names by the millions. just tons of money. so they created all these limits like you can only give $2,300 to each candidate in each election. the limits are a joke now. president obama, who i think good things about, but he went out and trashed the system and said i'm not going to go by the limits. i'm going to raise as much money as i can because i can. >> you talked for a long time about the importance of super pacs, but we've just seen an effect that nobody thought of. it's propping up candidates. it's keeping candidates in the race that voters have rejected. santorum, perry, gingrich, are only being listened to because
of the big super pac money. big super pac money behind santorum in iowa is part of why he's had a surge. >> colbert super pac has released five ads now. it governs what can and cannot go into the ads. take a look at this one from long-shot presidential candidate buddy roamer. it's not an endorsement since he appears in it. it's an issue ad. he's appearing in the ad, and it's not called an ad for him. let's watch. >> i didn't pay for it. colbert's super pac did. and super pacs are not supposed to coordinate with candidates like me. but because this is an issue ad about super pacs not coordinate with candidates, i can be in it as long as i don't say [ bleep ] for me. i say that as a fig leaf so super pacs can justify doing anything they want. they have a lot of money, folks. they built this fake set with fake books. filled with real money.
hell, they even bought colbert a unicorn. >> all perfectly legal, rainbow. >> you know, apart from the unicorn, it's all true. this is what goes on. he could appear in an ad online. doesn't have to put any money behind it. i liked the fact they pulled the bookshelf out. there's no books in those books. >> you can never listen to these candidates talk about not coordinating with a straight face again after watching these clips. even in the debate, we have mitt romney saying -- >> i'll tell you what's important. before they started spending money in iowa, newt gingrich was leading for president across the country. after the super pac money was dumped out on the tv, and i was out there when you saw it all, amazing amount of tv he was gone. and mitt romney won the iowa caucuses which led him to win the new hampshire. getting a daily double. this super pac stuff is running this campaign. >> we have to put a gloss on this.
i salute steven colbert. i hope he's not accused of vulture comedy when he runs in south carolina. but the thing is, laughing at this doesn't change it. these guys don't care. rick tyler doesn't care that you give him hard questions. because negative ads work. it only takes one guy with a couple million dollars to go in there and use super pacs. they are ready to put all of us in a bind on this. >> but growling at it hasn't worked either. we've tried everything. people have to care when they turn on the tv who is talking to them. who is talking to me right now? anyway, thank you. talking to me. thank york david corn. mike. great work. great coordination between you and colbert. up next, what is at the root of the class division? this is the most profound thing we have done tonight. most americans regardless of education or how many college years or how much money they make believe we are divided between rich and poor. it's in unison they all believe that. this is amazing. this is "hardball" on msnbc. wanted to visit us...
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the phrase e pluribus unum, "out of many one," but as the various occupy protests have shown, americans increasingly see the country divided between rich versus poor. a new pew poll found that 66% of americans, two-thirds, now see a strong or very strong conflict between the rich and the poor. and that's a 19-point jump since 2009, just a couple of years ago. joining me now is assistant democratic leader, u.s. congressman james clyburn of south carolina and msnbc political analyst ezra klein, also a "washington post" columnist. thank you for joining us. this new pew poll shows that people across demographic lines increasingly see this class conflict if you will. the numbers are up for whites, blacks and hispanics. look at the change among whites alone. the percentage who say there is a strong or very strong class conflict between rich and poor has jumped 22 points since 2009. what do you make of the cause of that? what's causing that?
>> well, i think that the tax policies that we have operated under over the past few years, ever since we had the so-called bush tax cuts, people began to see that there was something untorrid about the way those tax untoward about the way those tax impacted certain groups in our society. we had a geo study i brought up and tried to discuss every chance i got during the so-called super committee, where it said the lower 20 percentile our society have seen an increase of 16% in the last 20 years. the upper 20% saw a 65% increase in their household income. and that upper 1%, 275% increase in household income. and people see that, they feel it, they know there is a tough
time for them now to try to educate their children. they understand when they look at their budgets at the end of the month there is something untoward, this gap, this wealth gap is getting wider in our society, people used to be called middle income, now see they are now in the lower income. and the people who were in the lower income finding themselves out of work, on food stamps, looking for other kinds of safety nets. so, it's very clear what's going on here and you look at the budget that the house passed so-called ryan budget, a budget that got rid of medicare, guarantee, and increase of about $6400 a year for people on medicare, that would only plunge them further in debt and deficits, and no income.
>> well, more and more people are seeing this conflict, you're talking about regardless of party, the poll found 55% of republicans, 73% of the democratss, 16% democrats say there is tension between rich and poor, but the increase has been about the same. they have all gone up in the past two years which i found interesting, ezra, the jump is about the same between the two parties, 17 and 18%. republican and democrat. the jump in this perception is across party lines, ezra. >> you have to ask yourself what we are seeing in the polls. there are two possibilities. one, people are hearing the question, i feel there is a bigger conflict than the rich and poor than i did two years ago. the other answer they are saying america feels that way and it's unclear which it is. if they believe america feels that way, they could be listening to the two parties, occupy wall street, they could be listening to a lot of media coming at them and suggest we're having a fair amount more talk about class war, class conflict,
tax cuts for the rich than a couple years ago. if it's "i" you're probably seeing business profits, corporate profits have rebounded to incredible levels and median incomes haven't come back at all they see the economy working well for people at the top and not for them. they see there is a call to relationship there. the two are different, it's hard to say which one we are looking at. >> is part of this people are reading about billionaires, compared to when others are scratching along day-to-day. >> i would agree with ezra, some of that is the case. look, when you have a billionaire out of the first or second richest man in this country saying to the public that "i think it's unfair, that i a billionaire, are paying, 14, 15, 16% on my income and my
secretary is paying 26, 27% on her income and i think that's unfair" that gets the attention of the american people and i think people are now saying look, even the ones who are benefitting, when we were do the super committee, i heard from many millionaires who said it's unfair. >> thank you, great to have you on, sir. thank you for coming on. ezra klein, thank you for joining us. when we return, ten week tour of america i finished, what an education. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
let me finish with this, i just had a unique experience as an american, ten weeks i have been traveling all across the country, cities minneapolis, was it cold out there. meeting thousands of people about an american hero, president john f. kennedy. what i discovered should be no surprise, the romance of the love of country, admiration, affection, dream we have for the country and yes, the best of its leaders. so many people are not down on this country right now or its leaders, they carry their harts and show it in their ieyes, a deep abiding love and they believe aspire to them. the end of racial prejudice, the real enlargement of opportunity desire for peace in the world,
freedom of nuclear war. the belief in science and what it can achieve. i'm proud to have written about about about a leader who espoused those things. the great advantages that scientific pursuit can bring to us. kennedy is revered because he person i filed all that, i can't think of many things in my professional life that have matched going across the country and talking about him and what he did, and what he promised, there is nothing like standing in a room before a big live crowd talking about the america i love and leader who meant so much to us. i continue to meet with people as long as there is anybody out there who wants to join me. we have a campaign to cover important one, could well be as close as that one back in 1960 between kennedy and nixon gave us john f. kennedy, could go do midnight on election night. debates will be wild, exciting, unpredictable. obama will have to fight for a second term, to make a case for